Senate Judiciary Committee member Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., spent the time allotted for him to question Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett Tuesday on a “hypocritical monologue” that claimed “dark money” was behind her nomination, “The Five” co-host Dagen McDowell argued.

“I wanted to talk about Sheldon Whitehouse and the hypocritical monologue or lecture that he hacked up in front of her,” McDowell began. “[He didn’t] ask her one question. Not one. He implied that Amy Coney Barrett is not there because of her accomplishments, because of her intellect, because of how she’s lived her life, but that she’s there because she’s a pawn of dark money.

“Hypocrite! You know what that also is?” she asked. “That’s sexist. Let me call him out on it.”

McDowell recounted how Whitehouse, a former federal prosecutor, offered a 30-minute dissertation on how the Federalist Society and Judicial Crisis Network have purportedly conspired to spend millions of dollars in support of judicial nominees that support their agenda.

Whitehouse laid out his theory during th hearing on a posterboard labeled “The Scheme.”

“In all cases, there’s big anonymous money behind various lanes of activity,” he said, holding up a sign bearing the names of the Federalist Society and the Judicial Crisis Network along with a reference to legal “groups,” all of whom purportedly receive millions in anonymous donations as they influence judicial nominations and court cases.

Whitehouse further tied issues like abortion and health care to large donations to conservative judicial groups and statements from Republicans about judicial nominations.


He then referred to briefs from Republican senators arguing that courts should overturn  the Affordable Care Act, as well as the claim often made by Democrats that Trump specifically chose Barrett for the Supreme Court to rule against the

Sen. Marsha Blackburn shared an altered photo of Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse during Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s Senate hearing, showing him holding a photo of billionaire George Soros underneath the caption “Dark Money.”

a person in a suit and tie reading a book

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“Here @SenWhitehouse, I fixed it for you,” Blackburn tweeted, accompanied by an altered photo from the hearing.

A doctored caption on the picture reads, “George Soros Is Funding Radical Left Activists.”


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Soros is a billionaire philanthropist with a history of donating to liberal causes and campaigns. He has long been criticized by Republicans for his donations, to which Soros responded last year, saying he’s “proud of the enemies I have.”

“Their objections to Mr. Soros, 89, stem from his backing of liberal causes and super PACs that opposed Mr. Trump and supported Democratic candidates like Hillary Clinton, and his Open Society Foundation, which, funded by his billions, has supported democracy and human rights in some 120 countries, often opposing autocratic regimes,” the New York Times reported in 2019.

Blackburn’s tweet comes after Whitehouse displayed a presentation on “dark money’s” influence on the Supreme Court.

“In all cases, there’s big anonymous money behind various lanes of activity,” Whitehouse said Monday, holding up a sign showing the names of the Federalist Society and the Judicial Crisis Network.

“Eighty cases under Chief Justice Roberts that have these characteristics. One, they were decided 5-4, by a bare majority. Two, the 5-4 majority was partisan, in the sense that not one Democratic appointee joined the five. I refer to that group as the Roberts Five, it changes a little bit as with Justice Scalia’s death, for instance, but there has been a steady Roberts Five that has delivered now

The Academy Award for hypocritical chutzpah during the Supreme Court nomination hearings goes to Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Democrat, for his full conspiracy-theory rant about the supposed evils of the “dark money” supporting Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation.

Sheldon Whitehouse wearing a suit and tie

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So-called dark money is political spending by nonprofit organizations that don’t disclose their donors’ names. To be clear, dark money exists, and it does have influence. The truth, though, is that dark money is more prevalent on the political Left as on the Right, and Whitehouse’s allies in leftist dark-money groups are working just as hard at defeating Barrett’s nomination as conservative groups are at confirming her. More pointedly, Whitehouse is a particularly avid purveyor of the same dark arts as those he loudly denounced during Tuesday’s hearing.

First, let’s consider Whitehouse’s stunning hypocrisy in shouting against “forces outside of this room who are pulling strings and pushing sticks and causing the public — puppet theater to react.” As the Wall Street Journal noted in more than a half-dozen editorials, Whitehouse has long been a star in the dark-money puppet theater. Sometimes, he plays Geppetto, sometimes Pinocchio, but he’s a major player either way. The Journal has noted a whole series of friend-of-the-court briefs filed in Whitehouse’s name but which were funded, or for which legal work was done, by either top campaign donors or suspected top donors to Whitehouse. The same paper also raised questions, never fully answered, about a particular example of when “the senator intervened for a [specific] company after campaign cash flowed.”

Among the dark money outfits about which the Journal wanted Whitehouse to disclose his ties were ones called Arabella Advisors, the Sixteen Thirty Fund, and Demand Justice. A watchdog group called Influence Watch keeps close tabs on those left-wing

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island used the time allotted to him for questioning of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett to make an expansive argument about conservatives’ activist efforts to influence the judiciary.

Without asking Barrett a single question, Whitehouse laid out what he said was a strategy by small group of influential conservatives to cement control of the federal judiciary. He displayed a series of charts drawing connections between organizations that promote the careers of favored judges and also write amicus briefs supporting conservative causes that appear before those same judges.

“This, more and more, looks like it’s not three schemes, but it’s one scheme. With the same funders selecting judges, funding campaigns for the judges, and then showing up in court in these orchestrated amicus flotillas to tell the judges what to do,” Whitehouse said.

Whitehouse also rebutted claims from Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee that Barrett’s nomination was unrelated to the Affordable Care Act case set to be heard on the Supreme Court later this year.

“Don’t act as if we’re making this stuff up,” Whitehouse said. “This is what President Trump said. This is what your party platform says. Reverse the Obamacare cases. Senator after senator, including many in this committee, filed briefs saying that the Affordable Care Act should be thrown out by courts. Why is it surprising for us to be concerned that you want this nominee to do what you want nominees to do?”

It’s an argument that Whitehouse has made before. Last month, for example, he called the situation “a problem of court capture.”

“This has been the product of a very orchestrated scheme to control who gets nominated, to provide funding, to provide political cover, to run certain cases before the Supreme Court,” he said then. “The big donors

A prominent Iowa Republican has filed a Federal Election Commission complaint alleging Iowa Democrat Senate candidate Theresa Greenfield is improperly coordinating with outside political action groups.

Greenfield has coordinated more than $900,000 worth of communications with the Senate Majority PAC run by the allies of Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, the complaint alleges.

“There is reason to believe Greenfield, her campaign, and the IDP violated the Act by soliciting an illegal contribution from SMP [Senate Majority Pac],” said the complaint filed by Wes Enos, a Bondurant City Councilman and former Polk County GOP chairman.


The Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 says campaigns are only allowed to accept in-kind contributions of $5,000 per year from multicandidate committees.

Enos’ complaint highlights a Sept. 17 tweet from Iowa Democratic Party spokesperson Jeremy Busch which links to a page on the organization’s website that contains attacks and allegations that are “clearly intended to serve as the script for a Super PAC or dark money advertisement.” The webpage also links to opposition research which contains attack lines against Sen. Ernst.

Similar posts were also made on Sept. 27 and Sept. 28.

The Senate Majority PAC conducted its ad buy nine days after Busch’s tweet and used the exact attacks highlighted by the Iowa Democratic Party.

“With 26 days to go, this is a desperate, false claim meant to cover up Senator Ernst’s long and unpopular record of breaking anti-corruption laws, including her campaign getting caught illegally coordinating with a dark money group set up by Ernst’s top aides, as exposed by a bombshell AP investigation,” Greenfield for Iowa communications director Sam Newton said in a statement.

“The flag needed to be thrown” because Greenfield attacks Ernst for using dark money, Enos told Fox